Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plastic bags in US _ to pay or not to pay?

For decades the standard question at U.S. grocery store check-out counters has been "Paper or Plastic?" But since January, consumers in the U.S. capital have faced a different question: "Will you pay 5 cents for a bag?"

Europeans have long accepted the idea of providing their own baskets, bags or nets to carry their purchases, or paying for bags. But in the United States, where retailers go out of their way to cater to customers' needs, being given a free paper or plastic bag to carry purchases is largely taken for granted.

While one major city, San Francisco, has banned plastic bags, Washington's law is the first of its kind in the United States. It is being carefully watched by activists who hope that one strong success will prove the tipping point for a program aimed at reducing litter, pollution and waste.

Whether Washington's law will prove to be a trendsetter remains to be seen. The issue has sparked debate and many shoppers would rather juggle items in their arms or drive to stores in neighboring states where bags are still free.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 3,960 thousand tons of plastics waste, including bags, sacks, and wraps was generated in 2008. Of those, barely 1 percent were recycled. The agency does not keep statistics on the effectiveness of fees or bans on bags.

In 2002, Ireland enacted a nationwide mandate to charge a fee of 15 cents per bag on all plastic bags. According to the Irish government agency that monitors the program, it has reduced annual plastic bag use from an estimated 328 to 21 per person.

San Francisco enacted its ban in 2007 and similar legislation is to take effect in July in Los Angeles, where shoppers will be charged 25 cents for a paper or biodegradable one. But attempts by other U.S. cities and states to curb the predominance of plastic shopping bags have been rejected, most notably in eco-friendly West Coast city of Seattle, where voters last August overturned legislation to charge 20 cents per bag.

So Here is the question! Would you be willing to pay for the plastic bags?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Major Injustice

This is Dante Stallworth, wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. He just finished a 1 year suspension and was reinstated by the commissioner of the league. The first thing the Browns did was release him of his contract, which was 7 years, $35 million. He played one year, then got suspended. Upon his reinstatement, the Browns got rid of him. Injustice? No.
Last year, Stallworth was drunk when he was driving home from somewhere. The legal limit in Florida, where he was cited, is .08. His level was tested at .126. How did they spot him? He was involved in a crash. Not just him, another person was involved. This person was on his way home from somewhere as well. From work. To see his family. 59 year old Mario Reyes, a construction worker, was struck and killed as he crossed the street to catch the bus that takes him home. Yes, he was in a crosswalk. Injustice? Maybe.
The real injustice here is the sentence Stallworth received and the payment that bought himself out of his problem. He was charged with DUI Manslaughter. Sounds bad, right? It can be. In 2008, an 18 year old boy (man) received 24 years for DUI Manslaughter. This case was also in Florida. The boy had no prior record and no history of DUI. What did Stallworth get? Well, before he pleaded guilty, he struck a financial deal with the family. What amount of money replaced the life of Reyes? Must of been a ton. Once Stallworth pleaded guilty, he received a jail sentence of...wait for it...30 DAYS! Of which he only served 24 days of it. Two days after being sentenced, the NFL suspended him indefinitely without pay. I guess a year suspension is enough, according to the commissioner of the NFL.
The Browns absolutely did the right thing. Too bad more teams won't follow suit. More than likely, Stallworth will sign with another team, who will forgive him and pay him even more.
That is the saddest injustice of all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The NFL Pro Bowl

Growing up as a kid, I used to watch the Pro Bowl ans used to think it was a fantastic game. Either my eyes have been opened as an adult, or the game has changed significantly. Listening to the players and the sportscasters, this game should be cancelled. It used to be an honor to play in the game, but the players no longer want to participate. They like the honor of being named to play, but do not want to actually play. Maybe they should name an All Pro team and not play the game. Here are reasons why the game is no longer fun for the players or the fans:

Long gains were the rule and hard hitting was the exception.

Uniforms remained mostly spotless, with more pushing and shoving than tackling.

"It's different. It was like 7 on 7," NFC linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "Everybody came out here trying not to get hurt and give the fans a good show"

The stadium was half empty by the third quarter.

Nearly 40 percent of the players originally selected for the game didn't play.

"I'm just out here having a great time," Jackson said. "And at the same time I'm trying to put out a little effort."

"I slowed up to get a little camera time," Woodley said.

"The pace is nice," Smith said. "You don't have to worry about working too hard."

The players that do play are there because they are required to be there. The only way you can get out of playing is to prove you are injured. Many of the original players selected opted not to play because of "so called" injuries. Many of them played in the final game of the season, but "mysteriously" came up with injuries. By the way, of the four Cardinals selected, only one played. Nobody watches the game. It's really not football.

Cancel it already. Players and fans alike already have.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Answer is....

The forth character is Pow. Sorry, I could only find one picture of Pow, and because of copyright issues, I could not paste it. But I can tell you about him.
In the United States and Canada, opinion varies concerning Crackle's occupation, but Snap is always portrayed as a baker and Pop as a marching band leader.
Snap is the oldest of the group. He solves the problems his two brothers create and wears a chef's hat. Crackle is the good-hearted, fun middle child.He's the leader of the group and the smartest of the trio. He gets stuck keeping order between his brothers’ personalities and wears a red-and-white-striped stocking cap. Pop is the clumsy younger child. He plays jokes, doesn’t take things seriously and wears a band leader's hat.
There was a fourth elf character who was named Pow who was supposed to represent the explosive nutritional value of Rice Krispies but who was later discontinued.
In 1963 the Rolling Stones recorded a short song for Rice Krispies television commercial .
There you go, all I know about Pow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snap, Crackle, Pop, and ???

We all know the three characters that represent Kellogg's Rice Krispies: Snap, Crackle and Pop. They were created for a radio add that first aired in 1933. For awhile, in the 1950's, Kellogg's added a forth elf but later discontinued him.

What was him name?